Ocean color climate data records (CDRs) require water-leaving radiances with 5% absolute and 1% relative accuracies as input. Because of the amplification of any sensor calibration errors by the atmospheric correction, the 1% relative accuracy requirement translates into a 0.1% long-term radiometric stability requirement for top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) radiances. The rigorous prelaunch and on-orbit calibration program developed and implemented for Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) by the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) has led to the incorporation of significant changes into the on-orbit calibration methodology over the 13-year lifetime of the instrument. Evolving instrument performance and ongoing algorithm refinement have resulted in updates to approaches for the lunar, solar, and vicarious calibration of SeaWiFS. The uncertainties in the calibrated TOA radiances are addressed in terms of accuracy (biases in the measurements), precision (scatter in the measurements), and stability (repeatability of the measurements). The biases are 2%–3% from lunar calibration and 1%–2% from vicarious calibration. The precision is 0.16% from solar signal-to-noise ratios, 0.13% from lunar residuals, and 0.10% from vicarious gains. The long-term stability of the TOA radiances, derived from the lunar time series, is 0.13%. The stability of the vicariously calibrated TOA radiances, incorporating the uncertainties of the in situ measurements and the atmospheric correction, is 0.30%. This stability of the radiometric calibration of SeaWiFS over its 13-year on-orbit lifetime has allowed the OBPG to produce CDRs from the ocean color data set.
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